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Complaint about an Advertisement

(51 Posts)
Elless Sat 11-Mar-23 10:29:29

Thought you might be interested to read the response from ASA I received after complaining about the Flo tampon advert.
I'll put it under this heading because it's quite long.

Elless Sat 11-Mar-23 10:30:19

Thank you for contacting the ASA recently with your complaint about Here We Flo Ltd (case ref. A23-1190454).

You may be interested to know that we previously received similar complaints about this ad, and we asked the ASA Council to determine if the ad broke the Advertising Rules or not. After careful consideration however, they decided that no further action should be taken.

The previous issues

1. Most complainants objected that the ad was overly graphic and offensive. Particular concern was raised regarding the claims “I’m a bloody mess”, “a bloody mess down there” and “the gardener can bury them in your rose bush”.

2. Fourteen complainants objected that the ad was inappropriate to be shown before 9pm and at times when children could be watching. One complainant objected that the ad, specifically the claim “bloody mess” was harmful to young girls about to start menstruation.

3. Six complainants objected that the ad was demeaning to women. One complainant raised specific concerns with the claim “No more period drama” because is suggested that all women were dramatic and overreact when on their period.

4. Two complainants, who understood that ‘bloody’ was a swear word, objected that the claim “bloody mess” was offensive.

5. One complainant objected that the ad was offensive to men because it portrayed stereotypical male reactions to menstruation.

The advertising rules

Advertisements should contain nothing that is likely to cause serious or widespread offence or harm. We base our decisions on the content of the ad, when and where it appears, the audience and the type of product or service being advertised.

The ASA Council’s previous decision

The ASA Council’s assessment on the five points of complaint were:

1. The ASA Council noted that the ad was light-hearted in tone and did not include explicit or graphic content. While Council appreciated that some viewers may find the language and play on words distasteful, they did not consider it likely to cause serious or widespread offence.

2. The ASA Council noted that the ad had not been given a scheduling restriction by Clearcast which they considered appropriate given the content. In addition, they had not been presented with evidence to suggest that the ad had been broadcast during programming directed at children. Given this, along with the light-hearted context in which the claim was used and that the ad was not graphic or explicit, the ASA Council considered that it had not been scheduled inappropriately and that it was unlikely to cause harm to young girls.

3. The ASA Council considered that the claim ‘no period drama’ was likely to be seen as a light-hearted play on words regarding the setting of the ad and the use of the product rather than a suggestion that women were dramatic or overreact during their period. Council considered that the ad was unlikely to be seen as demeaning to women.

4. The ASA Council considered that "bloody" was a relatively mild swear word and had been used in the ad in a light-hearted way and in a specific context that was relevant to the product being advertised. Council considered that the ad was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence on this point.

5. The ASA Council considered that the reactions of the male characters were likely to be seen as a light-hearted play on a typical period drama setting, in which the gender roles and reactions would typically be reversed. Council considered that it was unlikely to be seen as portraying a harmful stereotype and that it was therefore unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.

Our decision about your complaint

While we acknowledge your concerns, we consider as they are similar to those previously considered by Council, we won’t be taking any further action at this time.

We will however keep a record of your complaint for reference in our future assessments. We will also take your complaint into account in our regular, proactive ‘intelligence gathering’ sweeps, where we analyse a range of information – including complaints made to us – to report on issues, even when they have not broken the advertising rules, that have caused concern.

We hope this helps to explain our decision and thank you again for contacting us.

eazybee Sat 11-Mar-23 10:34:22

I don't think I have seen this particular advert, but it sounds most unpleasant. Thank you for making the complaint.

Parsley3 Sat 11-Mar-23 10:41:28

I have seen this advert and there is nothing light-hearted about it. I will try to find a link.

Germanshepherdsmum Sat 11-Mar-23 10:42:10

Yes, my thanks too. It really is unpleasant.

Blondiescot Sat 11-Mar-23 10:44:02

I would have liked to think that, in 2023, we'd have got past the stage of getting our knickers in a bloody twist (pun fully intended!) over periods. But clearly not...

Parsley3 Sat 11-Mar-23 10:45:01

Here it is.

NotSpaghetti Sat 11-Mar-23 11:41:47

I hadn't seen this.
I'm afraid I found it perfectly acceptable - not great but nothing to write home about. I suppose if it had been set today rather than as a costume drama I'd have felt differently. I have no problem if "yesterday's man" couldn't talk about menstruation. Would probably not have suggested setting it in the dining room (but maybe that's just me?).

What was your particular complaint about elless?

Baggs Sat 11-Mar-23 11:46:02

Just watched it on Parsley's link. It made me laugh.

FannyCornforth Sat 11-Mar-23 11:48:57

I thought that it was good too Baggs
Especially the fellow fainting of his chair.
After reading the op I thought that I was going to hate it

twinnytwin Sat 11-Mar-23 11:51:48

I found nothing offensive about the ad - it was quite funny.

Theexwife Sat 11-Mar-23 12:21:24

I thought it was rather good, I could not see anything offensive.

Parsley3 Sat 11-Mar-23 13:10:46

Period drama! Get it? (Snigger)
We are surely better than that.

Shinamae Sat 11-Mar-23 13:15:02

I thought it was funny and clever, and I didn’t find it at all offensive..

Scribbles Sat 11-Mar-23 13:16:05

I can't see anything offensive in that; it made me smile.

FannyCornforth Sat 11-Mar-23 13:17:26


Period drama! Get it? (Snigger)
We are surely better than that.

What exactly is that you object to?

crazyH Sat 11-Mar-23 13:19:41

It’s not offensive but certainly embarrassing if you’re teenage grandson is watching TV with you ..

Siope Sat 11-Mar-23 13:22:04

It’s a bit arch for my liking, but I don’t find anything offensive about it.

AmberSpyglass Sat 11-Mar-23 13:27:51

Oh, grow up.

Hithere Sat 11-Mar-23 13:35:41

It's hillarious!

Ziplok Sat 11-Mar-23 13:38:35

I don’t find it a particularly nice advert, but agree that the play on words is clever.

growstuff Sat 11-Mar-23 13:40:13


Just watched it on Parsley's link. It made me laugh.

I thought it was quite funny too. I'm certainly not offended by it.

The "period drama" was quite clever.

Riverwalk Sat 11-Mar-23 13:48:10

I'm always in a quandary regarding TV adverts for thrush, menses, incontinence etc. I'm a nurse so in favour of education and being open - there is nothing to hide or shameful about these bodily functions.

But I have concerns for young girls' privacy and dignity - not all girls are growing up in supportive nuclear families. What about those with brothers, step-brothers, brothers' friends, step fathers, visiting males, etc. It can't be fun when these adverts invade your space.

As a teen I would have hated it.

Hithere Sat 11-Mar-23 13:51:07


That is why these ads are created, to break the taboo and support a natural event

Whose space is this ad invading? The girls' or the guys'?

Elless Sat 11-Mar-23 13:55:45

I think it's awful and dislike the 'bloody mess down there' statement. Everyone is entitled to their opinions and I respect that. Personally I don't like any women's (or men's) 'issues' broadcast on TV, and I'm not a prude, I just think its personal.